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Open Thread: Game 95 - A's vs. Angels

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Boy, it would be nice to win this game today. Not just because it's the last game before the All Star Break, it would net a series win for the A's, it would build some momentum for the dog-days of late July and August, it would cut the Angels' lead in the division to just 4 games and it would give unlikely-ace Justin Duchscherer that much more credibility in the eyes of the national media...but also because it's a lot sweeter to win any game against the Angels, especially when clowns such as Justin Speier spout off about "playing the game the right way":

Angels reliever Justin Speier hit two A's batters, Mark Ellis and Donnie Murphy, on Friday - and Murphy was drilled with the first pitch after Jack Hannahan's two-run homer.

"I always pitch inside, and when their hitters are leaning over the plate ... I know the timing was not right, but felt it was important to pitch inside right there," Speier said. "I was definitely trying to come up and in on both of them. I was not trying to hit either one. But if their hitters are going to continue to lean over the plate, we're going to continue to pitch them in.

"They're all diving. Their whole team dives," Speier said. "I consider (pitching inside) good baseball. It didn't look good that I hit the second guy, but that's the way the game should be played. ... I could care less about their bench being upset

Makes you wonder what he actually said in place of those, "...", doesn't it? It's funny, you would think that as an A's fan I would hate guys like Ervin Santana, Vlad Guerrero, Garrett Anderson and Scot Shields...you know, the guys that have traditionally tortured the A's. However, I respect those guys as players and also respect the fact that they don't go about their business with unnecessary and annoying flair (K-Rod) or a dangerous sense of entitlement to go ahead and hit batters with 90+mph fastballs up-and-in (Lackey, and now Speier).

Anyways, the Duke will look to build on his major-league leading ERA and reinforce his case to be considered a starter for the All Star Game as he faces an Angels team against whom he's 6-0 with a 1.28 ERA in his career. Joe "Colonel" Saunders, the Angels' scheduled starter for the game, has been scratched as he continues to attend to his wife and brand new baby daughter. Congrats Joe, just don't hit any of our batters! Dustin Moseley will take his place and start for the Halos.


Lineup

Los Angeles Angels @ Oakland Athletics

07/13/08 1:05 PM PDT

Los Angeles Angels Oakland Athletics
Maicer Izturis - 3B Kurt Suzuki - C
Casey Kotchman - 1B Matt Murton - LF
Garret Anderson - LF Jack Cust - DH
Vladimir Guerrero - DH Emil Brown - RF
Torii Hunter - CF Carlos Gonzalez - CF
Juan Rivera - RF Mark Ellis - 2B
Howie Kendrick - 2B Daric Barton - 1B
Jeff Mathis - C Jack Hannahan - 3B
Erick Aybar - SS Donnie Murphy - SS